As much as women and the LGBTQ+ community have made progress in gaining equality and privileges that men have, there is still an imbalance of power between men and “others”. Men continue to rule the world, and their masculinity continues to dominate society. A patriarchal presence is very much alive in the world and in our society today. When there is a desire for social change, it would be difficult to gain acceptance if men disapprove because they hold positions in government of high influence. However, the amount of patriarchal exertion is different in every country. In countries with lower patriarchal ideals, men are more open to accepting changes as compared to countries with higher patriarchal ideals as they hold stronger to their privileges. Luckily in America, women’s voices are valued more than those in China; therefore, men in the United States are more willing to compromise and accept change that might challenge their privileges and standards. Although China’s patriarchal society is more reluctant of women’s progressive efforts, and of the LGBTQ+ community, there are still efforts to create change. As R.W. Connell states in Change among Gatekeepers: Men, Masculinities, and Gender Equality in the Global Arena, “change in gender relations occur on a world scale, though not always in the same direction or at the same pace.” How fast or slow change occurs starts with men and how they react to the desires for changes. As much as we wish it wasn’t true, men have a very powerful voice in what happens in our society. Men feel entitled to their power, because after all, our society was built by men. The Founding Fathers were responsible for the Declaration of Independence, and they established the U.S. Constitution — the groundworks of American society. Men are the elitist, and so when women try to gain equal standing with men there is resistance, and when men try to come out as homosexuals there is strong disapproval because it falls out of the boundaries of masculinity that men confine and uphold themselves to. The injustice in the imbalance of power raises the desire for change. Desire for change in how society is constructed creates resistance. As Connell states, the desire for change is global, but how and when that change occurs is on a local level. On that note, from my own experiences and from my research, I postulate that men in America are more tolerant of change than men in China. Men in China hold a stronger attachment to their patriarchal privileges over men in America. I think a reason for this differing degree of attachment to their masculinity are the different responsibilities and obligations men are expected to uphold based on the two cultures. Confucian ideologies, such as filial piety and gender roles, are respected and practiced in China. Especially after the implementation of the One-Child Policy, the role of the child in the context to the family became one of interdependency. A huge Confucian principle is filial piety, which is the respect and obedience for the family, and one of the biggest obligations is to have children. From ancient to contemporary China, the duty of the women to bear children and be a good housewife and of the men to bring home an heir and be the breadwinner of the family are the rudimentary expectations of the gender roles. In my opinion since families in China were limited to the quantity of babies they could have, they held stronger onto the antiquity of the Confucian principles. On the other hand, in America, people were, and always has been, free to have as many children to their heart’s content. Since there is no restriction imposed upon them by the government, Americans are less timid of the law, and as a result are not afraid to use their freedom of speech rights. Another fundamental Confucian principles is the respect for elder and authority. Furthermore, America did not have strong behavioral ideologies that governed them, but it was more of philosophical ideologies that were derived from logic; therefore, they are not as chain to certain obligations as Chinese people are to Confucian principles. How each country copes and articulates and justifies, or resists, the changes are different; however, these reactions to the desirable changes of women and LGBTQ+ rights are small progress to big changes. China and America have made changes to women and LGBTQ+ rights, but not to the same extent. In America, there is not as much pressure to get married by a certain age; however, in China, if a woman is not married by 27, she is stigmatized as a “leftover women.” It is a derogatory term, and implies that the woman has failed to find a husband and therefore, will be single for the rest of her life. Another milestone change in both the Chinese and American societies are acknowledgement of homosexuality as an identity. In China, homosexuality is recognized, but not as much promoted. The government still censors any advertisements and movies that includes homosexuality. On the other side of the world, in America, there are many movies, even Disney movies, that celebrate non-heterosexuals, which praises the purity of love: love is love. China has not legalized gay marriage yet, but America has. Although China is behind, they are trying to make changes. China is making changes, but at a different pace than America is. In China, the pride of masculinity and of being a man is so idolized based on Confucianism that these little changes are big steps toward change. I think China is trying their best to accommodate the independence of women and fluidity of sexuality and changes in the binary of gender. China is a very traditional country that is doing its best to understand modernity. As Connell states, changes occur at different paces, and if there is progress and effort to adapt to changes, the society is moving forward. Sometimes it only requires a little bit of patience and fight as persistence will always win.
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